Tag Archive for education

DN=: Part 9–Brainwashing

Brainwashing (n.)

1: a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas

2: persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship

 (Merriam Webster dictionary)


 Listen, dear friends, to God’s truth,
    bend your ears to what I tell you.
I’m chewing on the morsel of a proverb;
    I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths,
Stories we heard from our fathers,
    counsel we learned at our mother’s knee.
We’re not keeping this to ourselves,
    we’re passing it along to the next generation—
God’s fame and fortune,
    the marvelous things he has done.

 He planted a witness in Jacob,
    set his Word firmly in Israel,
Then commanded our parents
    to teach it to their children
So the next generation would know,
    and all the generations to come—
Know the truth and tell the stories
    so their children can trust in God,
Never forget the works of God
    but keep his commands to the letter.
Heaven forbid they should be like their parents,
    bullheaded and bad,
A fickle and faithless bunch
    who never stayed true to God.

(Psalm 78: 1-8 The Message)



When you see a child who behaves well in public, what is it you always say?  “The public school system sure has made a great citizen out of that boy?”  Or, “Our governmental programs have certainly taught this young lady how to be a good American?”


No, you say, “Their parents must have taught them well.”  If the parents are present, you might thank them directly for being such good parents.  Lord knows if the kids AREN’T behaving, it’s the parents you’re going to blame, right?


So if it is this obvious that everything a child is and does is shaped by the examples set by his or her parents, then why does our culture get so bent about Christian parents setting a Christian example for their kids?


I don’t want to get to deeply into the issue of homeschooling here, because I have no personal experience with it, either as a student or as a parent.  I’m just talking about the natural education every child receives from daily observation.


Education, of course, is a good thing.  If we never learned anything, then we wouldn’t know anything (duh).  And common sense, that is, the collective wisdom of all the I told you so’s from all the parents ever, tells us that the primary source of any child’s education is at home.


Face it; we’re all home-schooled, no matter what our diplomas say.


Our parents have us from day one, when we are completely empty glasses.  From them we learn to walk, talk, eat, pee and poo where we’re supposed to.  Sometimes they even teach us to read, write and count before we start school.


Most importantly our parents, and specifically our fathers, are the primary shapers of our value system, our moral compasses, our sense of right and wrong.


So is this education or brainwashing?




Look back up to the top at the dictionary definition of brainwashing.  It’s not just indoctrination, or even FORCED indoctrination; it is forced indoctrination designed to replace one way of thinking with another. 


Parents are teachers, not indoctrinators.  They are filling empty glasses.  A child does not yet have a way of thinking or a value system to replace.


Therefore nothing, let me say that once more for emphasis, NOTHING that a parent teaches his or her own children can possibly constitute brainwashing.  This includes the passing on of Christian faith, the bedrock upon which the family has been established generation after generation.


So if giving your own children a Christian education is akin to pouring the Water of Life into their empty glasses, then by contrast, cultural brainwashing is coercing an educated person of any age to pour out their water, smash their glass, and take a deep drink from this brand new glass of fruit juice.


What do you mean it tastes like Kool-Aid?


(For an alternate beverage choice, come back for Part 10: Affirmation)


Empty Glass: Part 5–Pouring Out


As Truthseekers, our main responsibilities are to keep our lids off, keep our eyes open for the good sources with the good pitchers, dump out the bad water and point out the bad sources when we find them.  However, we have another responsibility too–the responsibility of pouring out.


A glass can only hold so much.  Once your glass is full, you can’t put any more into it until you pour some out. 


It is the obligation of the educated to educate.  If you think about it, you really don’t have an option.  If you don’t pour out, you can’t fill up. 


The only other thing to do would be to put a lid on your glass.  As we have already discussed, no water gets in or out if you do that.  The arrogant can not learn, but they ALSO can not educate! 


You can’t hold onto your knowledge and share it at the same time.  Although the teacher is superior to the student, remember that if true education is taking place, the student will become equal to the teacher.  If the teacher holds out on the student to maintain superiority, the education is incomplete.  Worse, the student with the half-full glass might think himself educated, become prideful, then slap on a lid of his own.  This perpetuates arrogance rather than knowledge.


For this reason, we MUST pour out.  Our obligation to pour, however, is matched by our obligation to discern. 


In other words, it’s our job to watch for the lids. 



If we try to pour into a glass that has a lid on it, the resulting mess is OUR fault.  We have the pitchers of knowledge; therefore, WE are the ones who should know better. 


Here are some tips in the pouring-out process:


·         If someone states something as fact, and you know for a fact that it is NOT a fact, this is a sign of ignorance.  Your obligation is to educate the ignorant person in a way that builds him up rather than putting him down. This way, all who hear you will be edified and will benefit.

·         If the person rejects your education by arguing their original point, which you already know to be false, that’s the lid.  At this point, your obligation is to BACK OFF!  A Truthseeker must never argue.  Remember that Truth is the common ground at the end of the argument.  Remember also that arrogance can not be overcome by logic, since it is rooted in emotion (specifically, pride).  In this situation, your emphasis should be on building a relationship with this person rather than building your case against him.  In time, if a trust is built, the lid will come off, and you can proceed with education at that point, when your new friend is open to having his glass filled.

On the other hand, if the other person rejects your education by doing one or more of the following:


1.      Repeating back what you just said preceded by the words “it is not. . .”  (e.g. You say, “It is a guarantee that you will bust your face if you walk into that tree,” and they respond, “It is not a guarantee,” etc.)

2.      Shouting back a sentence at you that begins with the words “YOU JUST WANNA” and ends with something that bears no resemblance to your actual intent.  (e. g. “You just wanna take away our freedom of choice about where to walk.”  Or better yet, “You PEOPLE just wanna. . .”)

3.      Saying something completely incoherent in a condescending tone, frequently followed by a smirk and/or an arm fold (e.g. “Now really, you don’t actually want to be master of the trees do you?”  Smirk, then fold arms as if the argument were already won.)

4.      Going off topic completely with a series of questions beginning with “What about. . .” and ending with something that has absolutely nothing to do with the subject being discussed.  (e. g.  “What about Mohammed?  What about Darfur?  What about the all the other trees in the world?”)


These are the people that we have identified as being stupid.  Put down the pitcher, and slowly back away.


(To be concluded in Part 6–Water of Life)


Empty Glass: Part 1–Ignorance


As a writer, naturally I deal with words on a regular basis.  As such, I tend to analyze words more closely than the average person does.  A pet peeve that I share with many writers is when words are commonly misunderstood and subsequently misused.


The misused word that’s bugging me more than any other these days is “ignorant.”


The rampant misuse of this word generally occurs within the realm of opinions, as in, “You do not agree with my opinion; ergo, you are ignorant.” (See “Entitled to Our Own Opinion?” for more on this topic.)


The word “ignorant” is derived from the Latin ignorare, meaning, “not to know.”  Ignorance is a lack of knowledge; therefore, an ignorant person is someone in the state of being where knowledge, instruction, training, etc. is not present or has not occurred.


Since ignorance is a lack of knowledge, we may liken it to an empty glass.  There’s nothing flawed in the glass itself; it just doesn’t have any water in it.


So an ignorant person is the one carrying the empty glass.  There is nothing wrong with this person’s mind; they simply do not know what they do not know.  The one thing they do know, however, is that their glass is empty, and they are thirsty.  As a wanderer in the desert is thirsty for water, an ignorant person thirsts for knowledge and Truth.


Now when you’re thirsty, what do you do?  You get a glass and either go to the sink or the refrigerator and get a drink.  You know where to go to get what you are lacking.


It’s different when you’re dealing with a thirst for knowledge though.  The more ignorant you are, the more you don’t know what you don’t know.  You know that you need knowledge, but you may not know where to find it.  Life’s not as simple as getting the pitcher out of the fridge and pouring yourself a glass of water.


No, in life, someone else is holding the pitcher.  If the empty glass represents ignorance, then the pitcher represents knowledge.


Ignorance is solved by the person with the empty glass finding the person with the pitcher and asking them to pour into their glass.  This is the process known as. . .



When pouring water out of a literal pitcher, the pitcher gets emptier as the glass gets fuller.  With the pitcher of knowledge, however, the pitcher loses nothing by pouring out.  Not only is ignorance overcome by education, but the educated person (no longer ignorant) has now become equal to the educator with the pitcher, at least in regards to the specific knowledge that was shared.


There is a catch to this education process, however.  If you were getting yourself a drink out of the fridge, you know what you are pouring yourself—water, juice, milk, soda, etc.  You can see what is in the containers, or at least you can read the labels.


The pitcher of knowledge is trickier though.  Because you don’t know what you don’t know when you are truly ignorant, you also don’t know what’s in the pitcher.  You know you are thirsty, your glass is empty, someone is offering you a drink, so you accept.

However, due to your ignorance, you don’t have any sure way of knowing if what’s in the pitcher is good for you or not.  You may end up getting an education you hadn’t bargained for.


(To be expounded upon in Part 2–Experience)